IT HAS BEGUN. Retching, joyous smiles, and/or nervous convulsions are the only feelings allowed today while we wait to see whether what weather forecasters say is true: that Portland is due for 2 to 6 inches of snow starting later this afternoon. The snow has already begun falling way down in the Willamette Valley, in Corvallis and Eugene. It's also bitterly cold, at least per the soft standards of the Northwest, so see about donating blankets or gloves or hats or old coats to those of us enduring this snowy/frosty snap out on the streets.

The other big news locally you might want to care about? The Portland Association of Teachers, indulging in a moment of high drama (so theatrical, in fact, they actually made the marquee at the Schnitz), approved a teachers strike against Portland Public Schools. They could walk out as soon as February 20.

The United Nations, on the eve of the Sochi Olympics, has told Russia to cut it out with the persecution and criminalization of its LGBTQ citizens. Russia just stared back balefully and poured another shot for its new friends, all of its various anti-gay-"propaganda" laws.

The Egyptian general already running the place like a dictator, after his soldiers ousted the country's somewhat unpopular but still democratically elected Islamist president, has decided to put in for his own presidential bid. But only because of popular demand, he insists.

The civil strife in Ukraine—birthed in a tug of war between Russia and Europe and sustained amid concerns over civil liberties—has begun costing Ukraine's pro-Russia president support from the country's pro-Russian eastern half. Which means he's probably toast.

The future of police surveillance in America has already arrived: Systems that can cover the entirety of a small town or large urban neighborhood, capable of tracking, for several hours, every car and person that passes through.

The Koch Bros. left behind some paperwork after a recent fundraiser in Palm Springs. It's a list of top donors, including several prominent CEOS, and how much they paid for access to the top of the Kochs' conservative political network.

This is like a recurring nightmare. John Boehner, speaker of the House, is (once again) selling his less-sane Republican colleagues on a(nother) plan to raise the federal debt ceiling (one more time).

Another federal drug czar has come out and admitted something already seen as common sense. During a House hearing, a Virginia Democrat got the nation's second-in-command drug officer to describe precisely how less dangerous pot is compared to prescription pills and alcohol.